- bundled digital online press services or digitised versions of newspapers or periodicals published for political and general information purposes
- operators of online platforms offering the classification or referencing of content extracted from press publications or online political and general information press services
Draft Law on the modernisation of press distribution
The draft Law on the modernisation of press distribution introduces new obligations for two particular categories of persons offering online public communication services in a professional capacity.
1. Firstly, this draft Law prohibits digital kiosks offering titles from at least two distinct publishers, at least one of which falls into the category of political and general information press (IPG), from objecting to the distribution of political and general information titles, provided that this distribution is requested under reasonable and non-discriminatory technical and financial conditions. This distribution obligation will therefore not be imposed on digital kiosks only presenting the titles of a single publisher, thus guaranteeing the right to digital self-distribution. Nor will this obligation apply to digital kiosks not offering any political or general information titles, in order not to place undue constraints on thematic digital kiosks.
Compliance with these obligations is monitored by an independent administrative authority, the Electronic Communications and Postal Regulatory Authority (ARCEP), which can intervene in two ways. Firstly, as part of a dispute settlement mechanism: it may be seized by a political and general information press publisher of difficulties relating to its digital distribution. Next, the Authority may impose sanctions against digital kiosks that do not meet their obligations.
2. Secondly, the draft law imposes a transparency requirement on the main operators of online platforms whose activity consists of selecting and/or referencing political and general information content (commonly called ‘aggregators’). These persons will be subject to ex ante and ex post transparency requirements.
As regards the ex ante obligations, and beyond the obligations already imposed on these persons under the provisions of Article L111-7 of the Consumer Code, they must provide the user with fair, clear and transparent information on the use of their personal data in the context of classifying or referencing the aforementioned information content.
As far as ex post obligations are concerned, these persons will have to make statistical information public each year concerning the titles, publishers and number of visits to the political and general information content that they have referenced.
Aggregators’ compliance with these transparency rules will be monitored, as is the case for all of the online platform operators mentioned in Article L111-7 of the Consumer Code, by the departments of the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Prevention of Fraud (DGCCRF).